COVID-19 Updates Regarding Events, Meetings, and Other Activities
The following are the current directives that guide student organization programs, including events, meetings, and other activities. As we receive updates and clarity about certain programs, we will post information here and email the Presidents and Advisors on record.
What in-person programs are allowed?
January 10 update: The University is currently in Phase 0 regarding in-person student org programs, which means that student orgs are not allowed to host in-person events, meetings, or other activities, whether on- or off-campus. We anticipate receiving the next update from the University's COVID-19 advisory committees on or around January 19.
Once the University's COVID-19 advisory committees open Phase 1, registered student orgs will be able to submit an Event Application in OrgSync to request an in-person program on-campus. Until further notice, all Event Applications for in-person programs will be reviewed for safety and require approval from a number of University entities, including a hybrid committee consisting of members of the university’s Student Life Advisory Group and Safety and Incident Management Group (note that this hybrid committee replaces the Event Safety Committee until further notice) and the Office of the President. As such, all Event Applications must be submitted at least 10 business days prior to the requested program date.
The following are the conditions for allowing in-person programs under Phase 1:
- The earliest in-person programs may be hosted is date TBD, to allow time for the committee to review. The last program date for fall is date TBD. Because there is a limited window of opportunity and because all Event Applications will be reviewed by the hybrid committee, Student Activities will temporarily remove the requirement that the student org’s President and Advisor approve the Event Application before it is reviewed.
- Programs must be on-campus; off-campus programs are prohibited at all times because we cannot ensure proper safety protocols are monitored and enforced. At this time, fraternities and sororities cannot host programs, including meetings and initiation activities, in their houses.
- Locations will be limited to the University Union, Gateway Center, and Rec Center, where staff can monitor safety protocols and ensure proper cleaning in between reservations. As spaces are limited, student orgs will not be able to choose their program location; if approved, a space will be assigned based on the program needs described in the Event Application.
- Programs must follow current CDC and campus guidelines, as well as Executive Orders, including a limit of 10 participants, use of face coverings, social distancing, etc.
- Regarding the 10-participant limit, that is in total (over the course of the program duration); participants cannot rotate in and out or stagger attendance to maintain a 10 person-in-the-room limit. While this is a small number, note that most of the available spaces in the Union can create hybrid (part in-person, part virtual) participation, and student orgs may request that in the Event Application.
- Only students and employees may attend student org programs; no off-campus/outside visitors, including guest speakers and vendors, are allowed.
- Absolutely no food or drink will be allowed.
As a way to maximize a limited amount of space, reserving entities will use block reservations for all student org requests. Reservations, inclusive of set up, event/meeting, and break down, will be limited to 90 minutes, after which there will be a 30-minute window to clean the room prior to the next reservation. Thus, the student org may not arrive prior to the assigned start time and must leave by the assigned end time.
At this time, room set-up options will be limited to classroom style, conference style, or open (no furniture). Student orgs cannot move any furniture/equipment in the room.
Understanding space is limited, student orgs may not request series/recurring reservations. In addition, each student org may have only one open reservation at a time. Once an approved program has concluded, at that time the student org may submit an Event Application to request another program.
The goal is that Phase 2, which is slightly less restrictive, will also be implemented by the University in the Spring semester, when local COVID-19 conditions allow. The above information will be updated at that time.
Our in-person program was approved. Now what?
After Event Application approval, Student Activities will send additional safety information and directives to the Event Contact, president, and advisor. Organizations that fail to comply with university directives, including safety protocols, will be referred to the Dean of Students office.
Each student org program will have a Safety Monitor (i.e., the Event Contact listed in the Event Application), who must be present at the program. It is the responsibility of the Safety Monitor to understand and coordinate the adherence to all directives and other program-specific requirements. It is the student org’s responsibility to enforce directives, including the 10-person meeting limit, social distancing, and wearing face coverings, for the duration of the program, from set up through break down.
Student orgs should ask in-person attendees to perform a self-assessment (via the self-monitoring form) prior to arrival and ask those who show symptoms or don’t feel well to stay home. Student orgs are required to take attendance (full name, EUID, and phone number only) at the program and keep the records for at least 4 weeks, submitting them to Student Activities within 24 hours of the completion of the program. This will help with contact tracing, if needed.
When possible, student orgs should provide a virtual or other in-person participation option to accommodate, for example, prospective attendees who have pre-existing health conditions and/or are immunocompromised. If a student requests any type of accommodation for a meeting/event on campus, student orgs shall contact Student Activities for assistance.
Student orgs should limit personal transactions at the program, employing no-touch material or item distribution (including agendas), using digital distribution instead. When possible, they should collect dues or other payments via electronic money exchange, rather than physical currency.
What in-person programs are not allowed?
At this time, student orgs are not allowed to host in-person programs (whether indoors or outdoors) on- or off-campus*. This includes:
- Any in-person gathering of officers, members, and/or potential members to conduct organizational business or an activity, if all of those who would be present do not reside together. This includes executive board meetings and video and photo shoots, among others.
- Solicitation (commonly known as "tabling"), due to the transactional nature of the activity and inability to socially distance.
- Activities that include someone picking up or delivering/dropping off items (ex., goodie or swag bags, t-shirts), due to the transactional nature of the activity. It is allowed as long as it follows: (1) the process, including approval, and conditions as described under "What in-person programs are allowed?" above; and (2) the safety guidelines provided upon approval.
- Donation drives, due to the transactional nature of the activity. This activity is allowed if people are instructed to drop off their donations directly to the drive benefactor (ex., Goodwill, Denton Community Food Center) or to make a purchase through the benefactor's Amazon Wishlist. It is also allowed as long as it follows: (1) the process, including approval, and conditions as described under "What in-person programs are allowed?" above; and (2) the safety guidelines provided upon approval.
- Restaurant give-backs/fundraisers, if (a) it is an expectation of the restaurant or student org that org members be present, OR (b) if it is dine-in. If student orgs are encouraging members and non-members to dine-in, the activity is not allowed. This activity is allowed as long as the restaurant does not require an organizational presence at the restaurant AND if the student org promotes the fundraiser as a delivery/take-out option only.
- Blood drives, if it is an expectation of the blood center or student org that student org members be present. This activity is allowed as long as the blood center does not require an organizational presence during the blood drive. A student org can certainly promote a blood drive happening in the community (not connected to the student org) and encourage people to donate blood.
- Volunteering with community organizations/partners as a student org (that is, the student org coordinating a group of members to volunteer together with a community organization/partner). Student orgs can advertise individual service opportunities to members, who may choose to sign up to volunteer on their own.
If you are unsure whether an activity that your student org would like to host could violate university directives or policy, please ask well in advance of your proposed date.
*Note for religious student orgs only: Per Governor Abbott’s executive orders, religious student orgs may hold religious services (including Bible studies and like activities) in-person, off-campus. We encourage these student orgs to conduct their activities virtually while the governor’s orders are in effect, but when religious student orgs choose to meet in-person for religious services, we strongly encourage attendees to comply with the Governor’s and public health officials’ guidance to wear masks and maintain social distance in an effort to keep our community healthy and safe.
What happens if my student organization violates any of these directives?
Student orgs, regardless of whether they are currently registered with Student Activities, that fail to comply with university directives, including safety protocols, will be referred to the Dean of Students office. When student org activities are brought to Student Activities' or Dean of Students' attention, we look into each situation, taking into consideration university policies/directives, which may include UNT's free speech policy, and state and federal law/executive orders. If you see something you believe violates the UNT Code of Student Conduct, please submit it and the Dean of Students' office will review it. If it is determined that a student org is not following directives, the student org and involved students may be held accountable for violating the UNT Code of Student Conduct, which is applicable both on- and off-campus.
What are the options regarding virtual activities?
Student Activities encourages student orgs to host virtual programs via Zoom, Teams, or the platform of your choice. As students, you have access to utilize both Zoom meetings and Teams for free. Need some help with working breakout rooms, preventing Zoombombing, optimizing for music/singing, etc.? Check out these Zoom tips and other Virtual Resources/Activities.
Student Activities can help promote virtual programs for registered student orgs, so please consider submitting an Event Application for them in OrgSync. Additionally, feel free to tag Student Activities on social media, @UNTActivities, and we will do our best to promote as many virtual programs for registered student orgs as we can.